Does the Joker die in Batman: Arkham City? New screens offer macabre clues

Mark Hamill, definitive voice of The Joker for two decades, has already insisted that Batman: Arkham City will be his final performance in the role. But the latest set of sequel screens now have me wondering if this will be The Joker's last franchise appearance, period.

Seriously, look at his face – does that seem like a man with long to live to you?

No amount of makeup can hide those horrifying skin lesions, those glassy eyes, that drooping hair or that expression of concern on worshipper Harley Quinn's face. Combined with the game's original teaser that revealed him hooked up to an IV and coughing up blood, this screen makes clear the near-deathly degree to which Joker is still suffering his exposure to Titan serum in Arkham Asylum.

Don't believe developer Rocksteady has the guts to kill off Batman's biggest villain? The game's writer, Paul Dini, already did exactly that in the 2000 animated film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Whether my new hunch proves correct or not, it's exciting to know that – based on the screen above – the Joker will still play a major role in Arkham City. One of the improvements I hoped for in my "what we want to see" feature were increasingly themed levels for the villains, and a creepy carnival Fun House run by the Joker's goons fulfills that wish perfectly.

Okay, your turn. Notice anything in these screens that gives a hint of what to expect in the sequel – like the appearance of yet another Iceberg Lounge poster in the first image? Got any new theories – like what role Sionis Industries, the company belonging to Black Mask, might play in the story?

Share and speculate in the comments below. Or click here to view more Arkham City screens.

Feb 16, 2011

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  • magnetoelectric - February 20, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    Didn't Mark Hamill say this will be the last time he does the Joker? You've got to figure he's going to go out with a bang. I look at it like much of this team has been working together for twenty years and as I understand it , Mark , Kevin Conroy and Paul Dini are pretty tight friends and collaborators
  • jmcgrotty - February 19, 2011 11:31 p.m.

    This story is mostly irrelevant. Harley Quinn is the main character in the game, and the rest is all just decoration.
  • CandiedJester - February 18, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    Without the joker I would not care about batman. At all.
  • jim2wheels - February 18, 2011 2:32 p.m.

    Am I the only one that would rather not have key events spilled before the game is even previewed? Probably...
  • GorditaSlim - February 18, 2011 3:35 a.m.

    If they do it right, the death of the Joker could be an amazing way to end the game, especially since Hamill will be retiring the role after this. If he dies, hopefully it's epic, because the Joker is a wonderful character.
  • FNG - February 18, 2011 2:50 a.m.

    Heath Ledger is the definitive joker of all time.
  • Yeager1122 - February 18, 2011 1:56 a.m.

    Killing off joker in a game is fine just like killing him in the future is fine they would just need a new main villan for bats.
  • MattOfSteel - February 17, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    Harley has always been in the D-cup family. See people that actually spend time with those girl type people learn that things like corsets, push-up bras, and pushing out your chest do wonders to enhance to perceived size of the boobage region. So her in spandex would have probably just worn a sports bra that flattened them down. I've taken enough Life drawing classes to know what posture and clothes do to body parts. I hope Joker doesn't die. Mostly because comic book death doesn't have the weight of real death. Doubly so for comic book videogames where the next Bat title could be another continuity. It worked in Batman Beyond because that was a flashback scene in a possible future series. And even then they had to kill him twice. Dammit, when will those auto spell checkers realize that videogames = a word and not a missed hit of the spacebar? Dammit! Spacebar too?
  • El72125 - February 17, 2011 3:59 p.m.

    I hope they kill him off, but obviously Batman will not kill him. Some building will explode, Joker won't leave, we don't see him get crushed but the building caves in, and after the credits end, we see Joker's arm pop up out of the rubble. He will be alive, but not able to talk. That is the loophole around it
  • philipshaw - February 17, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    No comic book character ever really dies but The Joker does look more messed up than usual in that screenshot
  • wittynickname - February 17, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    That picture of the Joker looks no worse than any of the last thirty times an NFL camera has accidentally captured Al Davis during a Raiders game, and he's still arguably alive. Based on that impregnable logic, I say the Joker survives this game.
  • g4m3rk1dd - February 17, 2011 5:56 a.m.

    i totally wouldnt be surprised if they killed the joker off... i never even want the hear the name "Joker" again after Ledgers performance...he was BORN to play the Joker...
  • SpartanCL89 - February 17, 2011 3:08 a.m.

    So excited for this game!!! Definitely a day one purchase! Hopefully the collectors edition will be a little better this time though.
  • gothicknight - February 17, 2011 2:15 a.m.

    hope its just as good as the first and anyone else realize the sniper is an over sized TAR 21
  • sid440 - February 17, 2011 1:50 a.m.

    Batman is on his way to make sure the joker is in some form of prison forever, even if it means curing the joker, before he can give joker the cure, in a final act of defiance the joker offs himself and bats is haunted by it the rest of the game. or duke nukem shows up and looses his gum, it could go either way.
  • JSayonara - February 17, 2011 1:49 a.m.

    How many times has the Joker "died" in the comics? For that matter how many characters have died and been resurrected in the DCU? Brightest Day anyone? And Batman Beyond was set way after current continuity. Bruce Wayne is old and retired, so killing the Joker off then wasn't exactly a big deal. Game still looks amazing though...
  • ultraextreme - February 17, 2011 1:34 a.m.

    @bobbybroccoli Breasts can never be too big dude. Never. fact
  • phoenix_wings - February 17, 2011 1:19 a.m.

    That's true, if they let Batman kill The Joker, it would lead to its own story arc about how he ignored his principle. I could get behind that.
  • Spacegrass - February 17, 2011 12:37 a.m.

    I hope the Joker dies, and I hope Batman's the one who kills him. Every time he's captured, he ends up getting out in a few months and killing more people; the only rational thing to do is kill him. We all know that Batman doesn't kill, and we all know what the reason for that is: because the Joker and other villains are too popular with the audience to do away with. If they're not going to use the Joker again in this series, why not have Batman break his one rule?
  • celticsfan645 - February 17, 2011 12:30 a.m.

    yeah i agree. In the animated series, the killing off was awesome. The whole thing was very well written

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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